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Place Narrative: 2560 – Walkes

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March 13, 2012 by leearia

If you’re looking for a small church home, look no further. This cozy church in the heart of East New York , Brooklyn, represents the hard-working determination of a Barbadian housewife to share the vision of what she believed God had given her. After migrating to America in the 1970s, for some years, Irene Elsie Roachford and her husband worked hard to establish what was needed to bring their nine children to America. This was a difficult task, but Mrs. Roachford often talked about her faith in God and his provision that sustained her. Building relationship and good rapport, she acquired apartment buildings from a Jewish family that she worked for. To make ends meet, she used the first floor of one of the buildings to start a business, a restaurant, where she and her six daughters prepared island cuisine for grateful customers. The small restaurant was a place of awesome scents and hopeful chatter. Sometimes, when patrons had nothing, they knew they could turn to that place for a meal. Knowing that there was a better way to reach out to the community she now called home, she decided to make a change. Although her restaurant was a means of income, she transformed that first level into the established church that it is now. Pastor-ed by her husband and co-pastor-ed by herself, she would impact the lives of many in that area. In 2006 Mrs. Roachford left behind that legacy which is attended by many of her descendants as well as other members.
One of the more precious projects going on there is the youth group. The group leader wakes up at seven every Sunday travelling from Queens to Brooklyn Arriving at 9:30; an hour before the gathering actually starts. She is there to prepare the snacks and prepare for the lesson that she would teach that day. Her hour long journey from her home to the train shows her dedication to this place, to these kids. Once arriving, her backpack full of stuff, she unlocks the store front gate and drags it up. The old door that is reveals fights a little to be open but gives way to a strong offense. Once inside, the dark familiar slender room greets her with calm. It’s linear row of handmade wooden benches only leaves room for a narrow walkway towards the front of the sanctuary. Walking up the path to the platform is a short one and she has to slide by the drum set that sits next to the unused organ. The Youth leader goes straight to the back to prepare the snack. There is a small space, which is occupied by a large table and another unused organ. There is also a hidden room that holds things. Any thing. Things not being used, things waiting to be used. This time, the shelf with the juices and canned fruit need to be accessed. Once the task is completed, she goes to the platform sits on the top step looks into the face of the benches. The room is so calm; there are no voices, there are no distractions. The room invites her into a duet. She picks up the guitar and they sing together. The room compliments the strums with less obstructions to hinder the sounds bouncing off of the narrow space.


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